SEC comes clean in HC on ward reservations

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NT NETWORK

Panaji 

The state election commission on Tuesday admitted in the High Court of Bombay at Goa that ‘to some extent’ constitutional mandate has not been followed over the reservation of municipal wards for the civic body polls to be held on March 20.  

During the hearing before the High Court on petitions challenging the reservations in certain wards of municipalities, the  poll panel  and the state government admitted that reservations notified for women is not in accordance with the mandate of the Constitution.

As Constitution mandates reservation for women should not be less than 33.33 per cent, but in several municipal councils it is less.

The High Court heard arguments on the petitions filed by the petitioners challenging the reservations.

Now, the High Court has asked the state poll panel to decide whether it wants to ask the municipal administration director to rectify the discrepancies.

The HC asked the SEC to reply on reservations.  Arguments in the matter will continue on Wednesday.

The SEC is slated to submit its say in the HC on Wednesday.

A petitioner’s counsel argued before the HC that rotation/allotment of reservations in the Mormugao municipal council has been done in haphazard manner.

While it was also argued by a petitioner’s counsel that there are some municipalities where less wards have been reserved for OBC than mandatory 27 per cent.

Elections to 11 municipalities and the CCP will be held on March 20.

The exercise of altering or reconstituting wards of the municipal council as also the identification and rotation of the seats for the reserved categories at the last minute is not only arbitrary but will also cause grave injustice to the candidates who have been working on the wards with expectation of contesting the election, one of the petitions stated. The petitioners said that prospective candidates are required to know in advance the voters of the wards, reservation of wards so that they can plan to contest elections; this cannot be taken away by prescribing a very short schedule.